MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville has claimed his spot in the U.S. Senate after defeating incumbent Senator Doug Jones.
This will be Tuberville’s first political office. Tuberville previously coached several college football programs between 1995-2016.
Tuberville has been campaigning for this job for more than a year. In March, Tuberville led the overall vote in a crowded field of 7 Republicans vying to face Senator Jones. Tuberville won 33.4 percent of the Republican primary vote, compared to 31.6 percent for former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Tuberville and Sessions advanced to the Republican Runoff after defeating the likes of Rep. Bradley Byrne and Roy Moore.
On July 14, Tuberville won the runoff against Sessions. Tuberville won with over 60 percent of the vote. Sessions later endorsed Tuberville. Both candidates said after the runoff that they agreed to try and run a “clean race.”
During the campaign, Tuberville never debated Senator Jones or Jeff Sessions. Both Jones and Sessions asked to debate. Tuberville never replied to debate stage requests to face Senator Jones from various media outlets across Alabama. Tuberville later told News 19 that he had been debating every day on the campaign trail and did not feel the need to be put in a “gotcha” situation by Jones and the Democrats. Several Tuberville supporters indicated to News 19 that they wanted to see a debate between Tuberville and Jones.
Prior to defeating Sessions, Tuberville seemed to start avoiding interview requests following the primary when the field shrank. From March to July and into November, Tuberville gave one formal interview to News 19 and a second interview to News 19 sister station, WRBL-TV. Tuberville did speak to sports and conservative radio talk shows. Media outlets had hoped to speak with Tuberville about various issues concerning investment mishaps, nonprofit tax findings and comments Tuberville made about the Voting Rights Act.
Later Tuberville would say, “I’m a victim here,” when referring to investment issues that landed his business partners in jail. Tuberville settled with investors for an unknown amount of money. Senator Jones, a lawyer, campaigned saying, “Victims don’t pay victims.”
Tuberville had campaigned on the “drain the swamp” premise. Early in the campaign Tuberville said he wants to see more working class people in political offices. He believes more police officers, firefighters, teachers and coaches should seek higher offices.